"Nature is there; its free": Urban greenspace and the social determinants of health of immigrant families

Health Place. 2015 Jul:34:74-82. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.03.016. Epub 2015 May 18.

Abstract

In this article, we draw on a 2012 Montreal-based study that examined the embodied, every day practices of immigrant children and families in the context of urban greenspaces such as parks, fields, backyards, streetscapes, gardens, forests and rivers. Results suggest that activities in the natural environment serve as a protective factor in the health and well-being of this population, providing emotional and physical nourishment in the face of adversity. Using the Social Determinants of Health model adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO, 1998), we analyze how participants accessed urban nature to minimize the effects of inadequate housing, to strengthen social cohesion and reduce emotional stress. We conclude with a discussion supporting the inclusion of the natural environment in the Social Determinants of Health Model.

Keywords: Families; Immigration; Nature; Social determinants of health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nature*
  • Parks, Recreational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quebec
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Determinants of Health*
  • Socioeconomic Factors